Northrop Grumman (NOC) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday, January 12th. The brokerage currently has a $347.00 price target on the aerospace company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 9.68% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “As one of the major U.S. defense contractors, Northrop continues to enjoy strong presence in Air Force, Space & Cyber Security programs. The company maintains a strong balance sheet and steady cash flow that offer substantial financial flexibility. Also, recent budgetary amendments made by the Trump administration have been in favor of defense biggies like Northrop. During the third quarter, the company’s investments included capital expenditures of $650 million, up 6.9% annually. With the acquisition of Orbital ATK, Northrop will benefit from the former's rocket motors, missiles and electro-optical countermeasure product lines. However, higher operating expenses tend to drag down Northrop's profit margin.”

NOC has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Bank of America set a $350.00 price target on Northrop Grumman and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. Royal Bank of Canada set a $374.00 price target on Northrop Grumman and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, November 16th. Cowen reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $300.00 price target (up previously from $275.00) on shares of Northrop Grumman in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their price target on Northrop Grumman from $255.00 to $300.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Northrop Grumman from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $305.22.

Northrop Grumman (NOC) opened at $316.37 on Friday. Northrop Grumman has a 12-month low of $223.88 and a 12-month high of $318.70. The stock has a market capitalization of $55,073.06, a P/E ratio of 23.57, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.81 and a beta of 0.69. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.96, a quick ratio of 1.05 and a current ratio of 1.21.

Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The aerospace company reported $3.68 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.92 by $0.76. The business had revenue of $6.53 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.33 billion. Northrop Grumman had a return on equity of 39.76% and a net margin of 9.24%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $3.35 earnings per share. equities research analysts forecast that Northrop Grumman will post 13.19 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, VP Denise M. Peppard sold 2,328 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $300.86, for a total transaction of $700,402.08. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 28,553 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,590,455.58. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, COO Gloria A. Flach sold 7,741 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $296.45, for a total value of $2,294,819.45. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 77,200 shares in the company, valued at $22,885,940. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 21,417 shares of company stock valued at $6,365,189 in the last three months. 0.70% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Northrop Grumman by 1.5% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 12,956,906 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $3,326,168,000 after buying an additional 192,667 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Northrop Grumman by 0.9% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 12,884,929 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $3,307,687,000 after buying an additional 109,532 shares during the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its holdings in shares of Northrop Grumman by 0.3% during the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 2,929,128 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $842,768,000 after buying an additional 9,159 shares during the last quarter. Capital International Investors grew its holdings in shares of Northrop Grumman by 29.4% during the third quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 2,274,928 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $654,542,000 after buying an additional 516,427 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC grew its holdings in shares of Northrop Grumman by 25.9% during the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 1,245,400 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $319,707,000 after buying an additional 256,200 shares during the last quarter. 81.22% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Northrop Grumman Company Profile

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global security company. The Company provides products, systems and solutions in autonomous systems; cyber; command, control, communications and computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR); strike, and logistics and modernization. The Company’s segments include Aerospace Systems, Mission Systems and Technology Services.

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